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Box Break: 2000 E-X (Very nice hit!!)

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24 Packs

4 Cards per pack

Price: $43 + shipping

 

 

 

 

 

Hey everyone!  I know it’s been a couple weeks but I have a great excuse.  I was out working on an Alaska Dream Cruise ship as the children’s coordinator and I had one amazing experience 🙂  Here is a shot I took of Dawes glacier to prove I really have been busy.

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Anyhow, I did return home to an epic mailday and a sealed box of 2000 Fleer EX baseball. The E-X sets have always been something I enjoy looking at.  They have thicker stock and typically have really good looking inserts not matter what the year.  They became famous later in the years following this set, and in 1999 for their translucent base cards.  In the past I opened several 1999 E-X Century boxes when they were in the 40 range and the base cards are quite nice.

The following year Fleer went back to these for the base cards:

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I was only 10 or so away from the base set so that was certainly exciting!  A young man who goes to church with me loves baseball cards and is getting into collecting the “old school” cards.  He’s going to be putting most of my breaks’ base cards into organized sets, most of which he will be keeping for his own collection.  Someone has to teach him about the good ol’ days right?  A handful of base were peeling off the cardstock but thankfully my Rodriguez was not one of them.

Prospects (1:12 Packs)

There are 30 prospects in total that come in this set, the most of the time being Rick Ankiel, Pat Burrell, and Alfonso Soriano.  They stand out a little with their gold lettering and prospect wording.  There were two in this box:

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Generation E-X (1:8 packs)

Every set has to have some easier to find inserts with talented young players.  This set fits the bill here.  Nothing major to write home about but as you all know, I do love shiny inserts whether they’re tough to pull or not.  I received 3 in this box; Alex Rodriguez, Shawn Green, and Adam Kennedy.

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E-Xciting (1:24 packs)

These reminded me of a fleer ultra insert from the 1996-97 Basketball set called Fresh Faces.  Coming in at 1 per box, you always hope to find a player out of the 15 card set that you’re happy to get.  While the uniform isn’t the “right” one in this picture, it was great to see The Kid.

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E-Xplosive (Random Odds)

These inserts are all #d to 2499…yeah in a 2000 product!  My feeling is that Fleer wanted to give collectors the feeling of getting a numbered card, no matter how high that number might be.  There was one in this box of one of the best hitters of all time:

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E-Xceptional (Random Odds)

There are 3 different subsets of these Jambalaya look alikes: Red (#d to 1999),

Green (#d to 999), and Blue (#d to 250).  I managed to pull one Green from this box.  They are really unique feeling and looking cards!  My card tried to throw itself at me like a broken bat…thankfully I was prepared.

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Skybox Autographics (One game used or Autograph per box)

Well this blog sure has luck with 2000 boxes containing big time autographs doesn’t it?  If you remember, when I reviewed my box of 2000 SPX I linked John’s Break where the best pull this blog has had showed up.  This one is probably the best card I’ve had the pleasure of pulling out of an Old School box so far:

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Yeah that’s a sledgehammer he’s swinging!  I’m sure that’s how to got to be jacked when he played 😉 Nevertheless, what an awesome On-Card autograph to see come out of a pack. Barry was an amazing hitter regardless of what he did off the field.  I still remember his All-Star Game homerun that hit the Giants logo in 1998.  I also remember that he did try to have fun although he was pretty standoffish to reporters.  He’s now the hitting coach for the Florida Marlins who seem to be in the Wild Card hunt now.

I sold the card to a collector on the best forum around Freedom Card Board.  I know he will appreciate this as much as I do when a nice A-Rod arrives in the mail.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A

3 Duplicates.  Enough Said!

Condition: B

Having some of the base cards peeling off the cardstock is going to make it a little tougher to put this base set together.

Pulls: A

Not much can beat a Bonds on-card autograph.  The reason this box doesn’t receive an A+ is because there were no Credential parallels.

Value: B+

Outside of a high-end autograph or Credentials parallel, these aren’t highly sought after cards in general.  I was very fortunate to find the Bonds which is going to allow me to purchase another box + an A-Rod.

I do hope everyone enjoyed the review and for those of you at FCB, I do want to give you all a big shout out because you’ve been a huge help in finding some of my most highly sought after Alex Rodriguez inserts!  Mailday update will be coming when my most recent purchase arrives.

~Matthew

 

 

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2000 SPx Baseball Review (HUGE PULL!!!)

00spxWell, here she is! It’s the box of 2000 SPx I told you guys (and gals) about last week. If you’re wondering where my “huge pull” is, you’re just going to have to read on, or just scroll down if you want. I’ve seen boxes of this product being priced at $80-100 (sometimes more) online. Recently, I found this box on sale for just about $60 (DACardWorld) and took a shot. I was VERY pleased with the results.

Box Details: 4 cards per pack, 18 packs per box. ~$60

Base set: The set is comprised of a 90-card short set, which is followed by 30 rookies/young stars. I pulled 56 of 90 short set cards, for 62%. There were also 5 duplicates.

Young Star Signature: The rookies/young stars featured on cards 91-120 are broken into three tiers:

Tier 1 – 1,000 of each, unautographed
Tier 2 – 1,500 of each, autographed
Tier 3 – 500 of each, autographed (Burrell, Beltran, Kapler only)

My pull was none other than Vernon Wells (/1,500), a two-time All-Star for the Blue Jays. I can live with that. At least it wasn’t Erubiel Durazo, who has haunted me in the past.

SPXCitement (20 cares, 1:4 packs): These are just some low filler inserts, but I kinda like them. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I like black? My pulls were: Chipper, Maddux, Rolen, Pudge, and Nomar. Pudge came out of the pack with some nasty chipping along the top.

Power Brokers (20 cards, 1:8 packs): Our first headache-inducing card belongs to Carlos Delgado. This insert looks like it belongs in the Black Diamond product of the same year. It’s a busy design to say the least…

Heart of the Order (20 cards, 1:8 packs): Of all the regular inserts in this product, this one is my favorite. The players in this set all batted somewhere in the 3-4-5 spots in their team’s lineup on a regular basis. Those exact 1999 lineups can be found on the left side of the card. I pulled a Bernie Williams and a Larry Walker. It’s been a while since you’ve seen the names Ricky Ledee or Edgard Clemente, huh?

Highlight Heroes (10 cards, 1:16 packs): This insert set highlights men who won the major awards (MVP, Cy Young, ROY, etc.) of 1999. The small writing in the black boxes at the top and bottom of the card are the player’s stat line from the award-winning season. My pull was Randy Johnson, whose line looked like this: 17-9, 2.48 ERA, 364 K’s.

What WASN’T Pulled: Here’s a quick rundown of what I didn’t pull in this box. Foundations is a 10-card set with inserts coming in just about every other box. These feature a nice closeup shot of the player, with three much smaller pictures in the foreground. Untouchable Talents are found 1 in every 96 packs and feature the same type of technology used on the Power Brokers insert. The Radiance (/100) and Spectrum (/1) parallels are also here as well. Lastly, SPx Signatures are found at a rate of 1 in every 10 boxes. This set boasts a VERY impressive checklists featuring Ripken, Griffey, Bonds, Jeter, Clemens, Gwynn, Guerrero, Bagwell, Manny, and even El Duque!

Alright, now for the part you’ve all been waiting for, the huge pull I promised. Remember those Winning Materials cards I recently talked about on an Old School Hits post? Well, I pulled the Vernon Wells autograph about halfway into this box, and immediately thought the box was virtually “dead.” I was very wrong. About four packs after finding the Wells, THIS SHOWED UP:

BONDS-JO!!!!!!!!

BONDS-JO!!!!!!!!

OH. MY. GAWD. AN AUTOGRAPHED WINNING MATERIALS BARRY BONDS 8/25!!!!! That’s one hell of an extra hit, isn’t it? Say what you will about Bonds, this is still a RIDICULOUS card. To illustrate just how hard these are to find, there are only 75 total amongst FOUR players. Bonds signed 25 while Griffey signed 24, ManRam signed 24 and some other guy only signed 2 (but if I pulled that, someone would have a major problem with me and show up at my door with weapons or something, ha!).

Final Thoughts: I think it goes without saying that this was one of the best boxes I’ve ever ripped, with the Bonds being of my top 2 or 3 pulls to date. When considering buying a box of this product, remember there’s only one guaranteed hit per box. In all likelikhood, it will be a young star/rookie autograph, and if it isn’t someone named Beltran, Burrell, Beckett, or Soriano, you may walk away disappointed. Despite the fact that the price has come down recently (Dave and Adam’s have them regularly for 70 now), it might be a bit much of a gamble for some. But you folks should know by now that I’ll bust anything old for this blog.

As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own breaks!
-John

1997 Donruss Baseball Review

1997 Donruss Series 1

A short while ago, I picked up a few older boxes online. I was ready to check out and then realized that I was just a little short of qualifying for some free shipping promotion. To put me over the hump, I decided to add a box of 1997 Donruss to my order. Why ’97 Donruss? I have no clue. But…what’s done is done so here are the results (can you tell I didn’t expect much from this box?):

Box Details: 18 packs per box, 10 cards per pack. Cost was a little over $20.

Base set: Altogether there are 450 cards in the base set. The first 270 are found in Series 1 (which I opened) while the last 180 are found in the Update Series. I received 139 of 270 base cards for just about 51.5%. There were 31 duplicates in this box and 2 triplicates. Like always, I have to point out a unique base card. Who’s Brett Butler talking to???

Rated Rookies (1:6 packs): Found in every 6th pack on average, the Rated Rookies inserts are the easiest ones to pull in this product. There were two in this box. The first card was of Trey Beamon, who was drafted by the Pirates in 1992 and established himself as a top prospect of the Pacific Coast League in 1995. He made his ML debut the following year and played with three separate teams in three years, last appearing with Detroit in 1998. The other card was of Jason Thompson, a draft pick of the Padres in 1993. In 1996, Thompson was called up for 13 games with San Diego and batted .224 with 2 homers and 6 RBI. He would never play in the Majors again.

Silver Press Proof (1:8 packs, 2000 produced): Found in every eighth pack on average are the Silver Press Proof parallels, which are numbered (though not individually) to 2,000 on the back. The difference between the Press Proof and regular base cards would be the giant foil “PP” logo in the background. There were two proofs in this box: one of Kevin Appier and one of my Eduardo Perez (one of my least favorite Baseball Tonight analysts EVER).

Gold Press Proof (1:32 packs, 500 produced): The second parallel to the set, the Gold Press Proof, is much rarer and is die-cut at the top and bottom, not to mention all the gold text on the card. Like the Silver Proofs, they are also numbered on the back, only to 500. I pulled a Shannon Stewart.

Armed and Dangerous (1:58 packs, 5000 produced): The best pull from this box was an Armed and Dangerous insert of Barry Bonds. On the front of this card, is a Giants logo hidden in some camouflage near the top. On the back, we have a picture of Bonds plastered on a faux military badge (link). The theme is interesting at least, even if it is Bonds.

What WASN’T Pulled: There were two inserts randomly found in Series 1 Hobby packs that I did not pull any of. The first is of course, Diamond Kings (link). I don’t think I have to explain what these are. They were numbered to 10,000 that year and the first 500 numbered copies were printed on canvas. As a special bonus, if you happened to pull a Diamond King that was serially numbered 1982/10,000, you won that particular card’s original art! However, you had to be quick as the offer expired in March of ’97. The second insert I missed out on was the Elite Series (link). They were limited to 2,500 and looked awesome as always. I’ll let that scan do the talking. Have those cards ever not looked awesome?

Final Thoughts: I didn’t expect much from this box so I couldn’t really complain. I don’t plan on opening any more basic Donruss boxes, but I just might if I find some of any particularly interesting years. Expect some more exciting boxes soon…

As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own breaks!
-John

1999 Finest Series 1 (Jumbo) Baseball Review

Long before the days of mini-boxes and “Rip-Master” autographs (seriously, WTF?), Topps Finest was a pretty formidable product. Not long ago, I opened a box of 1999 Finest Series 1 Baseball. 1999 Finest was a dual-series product with Series 1 being comprised of cards 1-150 and Series 2 being comprised of cards 151-300. In addition, 2 types of boxes were available. Regular hobby boxes were comprised of 24 6-card packs while HTA “Jumbo” boxes were comprised of 12 13-card packs. I went with the jumbo on this one as there wasn’t much of a difference in price and the odds of hitting inserts were more favorable. Both varieties of boxes can be had for around $35-45 or so. And on to the results…..

Base Set: As I stated earlier, the Series 1 base set is comprised of 150 cards. The first 100 are your standard base cards. The last 50 make up a bunch of subsets that feature a mixture of stars, young stars, and rookies. The stars are highlighted in a subset called “Gems.” You’ll find guys like Frank Thomas, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Bonds, and so forth. The young stars are highlighted in a subset called “Sensations.” Here you’ll find players such as Todd Helton, Kerry Wood, Adrian Beltre, etc. Then, you have your rookies in a subset called………wait for it……..”Rookies.” Yes, it’s true. Despite the fact that the cards say “rookies,” I only got 1 true rookie, Austin Kearns. The rest were guys who had RC’s in 1997 products, like Roy Halladay and Lance Berkman. The last 50 cards are also shortprinted. You’ll find these seeded 1 per pack in a Hobby pack and 2 per pack in a Jumbo pack. In this box I received 89 of the first 100 cards and 21 of the last 50. Duplicates and even triplicates(!) were a problem in my box. Altogether, I received 33 duplicates and 2 triples, and I didn’t even complete the first 100 cards! Ugh. That was the only negative thing I could say about this box though.

Refractors: Ah, yes, the stuff that makes Finest the brand it is. Back then, there were only refractors and gold refractors. There was not one refractor (and X-fractor for that matter) for every color of the rainbow like now. In this product, refractors fell 2 per box on average while gold refractors were a much tougher pull, falling in every 2.5 boxes or so, and were limited to just 100. The 2 I got in this box were the refractor version of the “Sensations” subset cards of Troy Glaus and Ben Grieve (pictured above). I did not receive any gold refractors.

Peel & Reveal: This insert is very similar to the Mystery Finest sets found in basic Topps and other Topps Finest issues. You received a card covered by a black sheet that you had to peel off. It was a little remeniscent of Fleer Mystique except these were WAY harder to peel off. There were 3 versions of this insert. The most common, the one that I got, was called Sparkle (use your imagination). It was of Roger Clemens. The Sparkle cards come roughly 1 per box. The second parallel is called Hyperplaid and is a little harder to find. These have the perpendicular lines on them that Atomic Refractors do. These fall roughly 1 in every 2.5 boxes. The final parallel, and the most rare, is called Stadium Stars. I’m not even sure what these look like to be honest, but they are found roughly 1 in every 5 boxes or so. There are 20 total players in this set.

Leading Indicators: This is an interesting 10 card set. The player is featured with a background of a baseball field behind him. When you press down on a certain part of the “field,” a stat is shown. It shows the breakdown of how many of the player’s 1998 home runs went to each particular field. For example, on my Andres Galarraga card, I see that he hit 15 home runs to left field, 22 home runs to center field, and 7 home runs to right field in 1998. Pretty unique card, you don’t see this kind of originality anymore, and that’s sad.

Prominent Figures: This is a huge insert set of 50 cards. It’s called Prominent Figures because they take 5 statistical categories and number the cards according to what the (then) single-season record was for each. For example, Home Runs cards were limited to 70, RBI cards were limited to 190, Slugging % cards were limited to 847, Batting Average cards were limited to 424, and Total Bases cards were limited to 457. There were 10 players for each of these categories. Some were in more than one category. The concept was that the 10 players selected were all deemed capable of challenging the record for that particular stat. In McGwire’s case, he set the record so the Home Runs were limited to 70. I got a Slugging Percentage card of Barry Bonds. It is numbered 443/847. For a Bonds card, it’s really nice, I have to admit.

Split Screen: The final type of insert I pulled from my box was the Split Screen insert. These cards featured 2 players who seemed to have some sort of common bond between them. Some played for the same team (Ken Griffey, Jr./Alex Rodriguez), some were longtime vets who played their entire career for one team (Cal Ripken, Jr./Tony Gwynn), and some were deemed the Wave of the Future (Travis Lee/Pat Burrell). Every Split Screen card had a refractor-type finish on at least one half of the card. These cards fell about 1 per box. There was a parallel version of this though, in which BOTH halves of the card had the refractor finish. Those were seeded in every third box or so. I got very lucky with this insert. I pulled a Ken Griffey, Jr/Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds/Albert Belle single refractor card AND a DUAL refractor of Travis Lee/Pat Burrell. As I recall, I had 2 of these 3 Split Screen Cards in the same pack!. It’s always nice to beat the odds. 😉

Overall, 1999 was one of my favorite years for Topps Finest. It wasn’t just a set of veterans and refractors like the early issues. It also wasn’t a gimmicky assortment of mini-boxes, rookie autographs, and an insane amount of refractors like the later issues. It was a nice medium, filled with veterans, rookies, young stars, parallels, and great looking inserts with some unique and innovative ideas. If you’re a fan of inserts, you’ll like this product. There’s some great looking stuff in here, and for around $40 or so, how could you go wrong? It sure beats the $8 jersey card you’ll get from that pack of Playoff Absolute Memorabilia of the same MSRP.

As always, thanks for the read!
-John